Posted - 09/17/2010 : 11:46:47 AM
Would we do as much?
To the editor:
It's that time of year that we are reminded that Constitution Week is upon us. We, as a nation, don't celebrate this week with the same enthusiasm as we do the Fourth of July, but perhaps we should. After all, it took many years of struggle of many men and women to earn the privilege of setting up the government of this fledgling nation. This year I thought I'd introduce you to the oldest Revolutionary War soldier, Henry Francisco, who also happens to be an ancestor of a few persons of the area including Robert and Eugene Van Deraa.
Henry was a young lad when his French father and Dutch mother gave up on France and settled in England where Henry first served as a soldier under Queen Anne. And later he and brother Frans and parents would arrive to these shores at New Jersey. Henry would again serve in the French and Indian War and he would become a prisoner of war. He would later settle in New York and build a farm, home and tavern, and raise a family.
At the age of 91 his tavern and home were torched by the British and Henry went to war and served with the Green Mountain Boys and fought at the battles of Saratoga and Bennington. In 1778 he was dismissed due to lameness. In 1818 he requested a pension and it was approved. In 1820 he gave an interview with Professor Benjamin Silliman, Jr. of Yale College, and months later passed away.
His fight to keep his land and his way of life for himself and his descendants was one of many acts of many people who struggled to gain this privilege to form this nation. So let us not forget the soldiers, the politicians and citizens who sacrificed so much to guarantee the survival of this nation. Let us ask, would we do as much?
Barbara Van Deraa
Abiel Fellows Chapter NSDAR
Constitution Week Chairman
Originally I was going to post a link about Constitution Day in another forum but I wan across this letter to the editor from our local paper and thought it was a good segue so I posted it here instead.
Liberty First. Everything else second.